Gender and Sexuality in Weimar Modernity: Film,Literature,and New Objectivity

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Richard McCormick takes a fresh look at the crisis of gender in Weimar Germany through an analysis of selected cultural texts, both literary and film, characterized under the label “New Objectivity”. The New Objectivity was marked by a sober, unsentimental embrace of urban modernity, in contrast to Expressionism’s horror of technology and belief in “auratic” art. This sensibility was gendered as well as contradictory: while associated with male intellectuals, New Objectivity was best symbolized by the New Woman they feared (and desired). Moving skillfully from Caligari to Dietrich, McCormick traces the crisis of gender identities, both male and female, and reveals how a variety of narratives of the time displaced an assortment of social anxieties onto sexual relations.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312292980
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 2/28/2002
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.22 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard W. McCormick is Associate Professor of German at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of Politics of the Self: Feminism and the Postmodern in West German Literature and Film.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Introduction. Blurred Boundaries: Modernity, Crisis, and Emancipation in the Culture of the Weimar Republic 1
Ch. 2 From Caligari to Dietrich: Anxieties About Sex and Gender in Weimar Cinema and Culture 15
Ch. 3 "New Objectivity": Ambivalent Accommodations with Modernity 39
Ch. 4 Boys in Crisis: Discourses of Castration in the Early Stabilized Period 59
A The Carnival of Humiliation, I: Literal Castration - as Metaphor - in Ernst Toller's Drama Hinkemann (1924) 59
B The Carnival of Humiliation, II: Sex & Social Mobility, Mass Spectacle & Reflexivity in E.A. Dupont's Film Variety (1925) 72
C Impotence and Therapy, Excess and Containment: "Curing" Male Crisis in G.W. Pabst's Film Secrets of a Soul (Geheimnisse einer Seele) (1926) 87
Ch. 5 The End of Stability: "Phallic" New Women and Male Intellectuals 99
A Amoral Modernity as New Woman: Erich Kastner's Novel Fabian (1931) 99
B The Cabaret of Humiliation: Gender, Spectacle, and Spectatorship in Josef von Sternberg's Film The Blue Angel (1930) 113
Ch. 6 Girls in Crisis: Women's Perspectives in Late Weimar 129
A Mass Culture, Downward Mobility, and Female Resistance: Irmgard Keun's Novel The Artificial Silk Girl (1932) 129
B Coming Out of the Uniform: Political and Sexual Emancipation in Leontine Sagan's Film Madchen in Uniform (1931) 146
Ch. 7 Weimar Culture Now: "Americanism" and Post/Modernity 163
Notes 175
Works Cited 215
Index 233
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